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Professor and students in the chemistry lab.

Chemistry

Chemistry is the study of… everything. Well, not everything, exactly, but the substances that make up everything—the parts and particles of all the matter that make up what we know as the world, including building materials, clothes, drugs, food, and a million other things.

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Degree Types
Major , Minor
Institution
Complementary Programs
Heart
Distinctive Requirements
Capstone
Document
Research Facilities
4 research labs

Chemists investigate matter’s structure and composition, its properties, and the way it behaves when it interacts with other types of matter. In McDaniel’s classrooms and laboratories, you’ll have ample opportunity to discover what parts of the vast field of Chemistry are most interesting to you. And your professors will be with you every step of the way—counseling you to ensure that you take the courses that will help you discover and best meet your career goals.

Our Mission

The Chemistry Department of McDaniel College meets the needs of a diverse population of students. In all of the department courses, the goal is to produce active, inquisitive learners who, with competence, integrity, and professionalism, are able to acquire and analyze data, formulate and critically evaluate hypotheses, and communicate results through both written and oral means. We seek to provide our students with a sound foundational knowledge and understanding of the principles and practices of the discipline of chemistry, including the areas of inorganic, organic, analytical, physical, and biochemistry. We also provide students with training in the skills of traditional, instrumental and computational methods of investigation.

You’ll also have plenty of opportunities for internships and research to give you practical experience. Recently, internships for McDaniel students have ranged from participation as research assistants in the genomics lab at the National Cancer Institute to shadowing physicians in the Emergency Department of a nearby full-service hospital.

Distinctive Courses

CHE 1104 - General Chemistry II: Chemical Reactivity

The second half of the two-semester, general chemistry sequence is designed primarily for those students who are interested in majoring in the sciences and have sufficiently solid backgrounds in science and mathematics to allow for a more in-depth investigation of the field. The course starts with an overview of the physical properties of solids, liquids and gases and how they can be interpreted using kinetic molecular theory. Major topics also include an introduction to chemical kinetics, the principles of chemical equilibrium, and chemical thermodynamics. Finally, a detailed study of two important classes of reactions, acid-base and reduction-oxidation, will be covered. In the laboratory, students explore gases, solutions, kinetics, and equilibrium, using conventional and instrumental techniques, applying their skills in a problem-solving environment.

CHE 2206 - Bioinorganic Chemistry

Bioinorganic chemistry examines the role of inorganic species in the chemistry of life. The topic lies at the interface of inorganic chemistry and biochemistry. Representative topics of study include the role of Iron in oxygen transport and the respiratory chain, the biochemistry of Zinc, and Inorganics in medicine. The associated laboratory comprises two components: guided inquiry experiments, and open inquiry experiments. The guided inquiry experiments provide students with experience in synthesis and property determination for selected inorganic species.  The open inquiry experiments involve students designing and undertaking experiments on biologically related inorganic themes. 

BIO 3316 - Animal Physiology

A study and analysis of functional processes in animals and the involvement of these processes in homeostatic regulation. Topics include osmotic and ionic regulation, excretion, respiration, circulation, muscles, nervous communication, and hormones.

CHE 3205 - The Chemical Literature

An introduction to modern searching of the scientific literature using electronic databases, including Chemical Abstracts. Specific instruction is given in the techniques and strategies used in searching subjects, authors, and substances in retrospective, forward, and relational databases. As a culminating experience in this course, students will perform a comprehensive literature search on a subject and then produce a concise review of the topic.

Special Opportunities

Student teaching one-on-one in elementary school setting.

Chemistry Major with Education Minor

Thinking about teaching someday? A minor in Education is a great place to start. 

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

2020 summer research students and professor Dana Ferraris on Eaton Hall steps

Research Experience McDaniel students join in worldwide research efforts to discover drugs to treat COVID-19 with real world outcomes

In the face of the deadly global coronavirus pandemic, pharmaceutical data vaults have been unlocked and shared – an unprecedented move in research that McDaniel Chemistry professor Dana Ferraris seized to give his students the opportunity this summer to discover drugs to fight COVID-19.

Future Career Paths

McDaniel chemistry graduates go on to great graduate school programs and exciting careers at a wide variety of companies. Students have recently been employed at places like:

  • The University of Texas Health Science Center
  • Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • The Food and Drug Administration
  • Kimmell Cancer Center
  • Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania
  • LabCorp

Top Tier Graduate School Opportunities

Recent graduates have also gained acceptance in Chemistry PhD programs at several of the top tier graduate schools including:

  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Northeastern University
  • University of Maryland
Kaitlin Mahoney at NY marathon 2019

Alumni Spotlight Dr. Kaitlin Mahoney ’13

Dr. Kaitlin Mahoney ’13 is in her element. The Exercise Chemistry graduate is now in training as Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician with the University of Tennessee. She sees patients at a family medicine clinic and at the UT student health center. She is learning from neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, doctors of physical therapy and athletic trainers and is gaining experience as a team physician with the Knoxville Ice Bears. Becoming a physician and working with athletes of all kinds has been on Mahoney’s radar for as long as she can remember.

Dana Ferraris

Faculty Spotlight Dana Ferraris Associate Professor and Department Chair

“I spent over 15 years as a medicinal chemist working on drug discovery projects in the pharmaceutical industry. I am still passionate about teaching undergraduates medicinal chemistry and oncology based drug discovery.” 

Recent News for Chemistry